Romans 7 is confusing. On the one hand the discourse about the validity of the Law on dead people seems to follow right along with the notion that we have died with Christ. But Paul’s “wretched” passage has produced more confusion in those with whom I have studied this book than just about any other passage outside prophetic or apocalyptic passages.
I am not sure that it is that difficult to get. His claim on us, since He redeemed us, is complete. Our following Him though is a struggle as we fight against the desires of our flesh in the midst of a fallen, broken world whose systems and rulers are at best opposed to His rule and in reality hostile to Him and His people. Paul seems to describe that struggle well. In a sense Romans 7 is a description of that struggle to the extent that we are trying to follow Christ on our own, in our own strength, but doing the “right” Christian things.
The bottom line, it does not work.
That is why 7:24 – 25 is such a powerful set up for chapter 8.